Eric Inman embarked on an unconventional career journey, driven by his deep interest in how the environment influences human psychology. Growing up, his exposure to nature through activities like backpacking and skiing shaped his perspective. He ventured into wilderness therapy, where he realized the profound impact of nature on personal growth. His passion for ecopsychology and his experiences in Japan culminated in Evolve Wild, a venture that facilitates transformative outdoor experiences in the Pacific Northwest. Discover how Eric helps people connect with their authentic selves and recognize obstacles, fostering personal growth and positive change, on Search and Replace.
More about today’s guest:
- Get to know Eric Inman at his company website EvolveWild.com.
- Connect with Eric via his LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Explore these related stories:
- Explore how time in nature can improve your mental health and sharpen your cognition.
- Discover the healing power of nature.
- Learn more about ecopsychology and how immersion in nature can benefit your health.
- How our relationship with nature can be critical in supporting good mental health and preventing distress.
[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialist at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode.
[00:00:09] Joe Taylor Jr.: What if the next time someone says you need to touch grass, you do it – but on the side of a dormant volcano. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.
When most Americans talk about planning a career, they’ll probably tell you things like I want a corner office with a nice view. Eric Inman’s got a nice view where he works, but it’s definitely not an office and the path to his unusual career started when he was very young.
[00:00:45] Eric Inman: I grew up middle class suburbs, Philadelphia and my dad actually took me outdoors backpacking a fair amount when I was a kid, and I think that played some part in everything; spending several days outside at a time. In middle school, I started to get real into skiing. Went into college. And I was exploring psychology. I went to West Virginia University.
One summer, I went to a job fair and found someone looking for river guides down on the southern end of the state. And I was like, sure, I’ll do that. And I ended up living in a tent on the river for the whole summer and that started guiding and that helped me explore things a lot differently.
I worked in traditional psychology for years and a lot of residential lockdown kind of stuff. And then from that I ended up getting a job in wilderness therapy when I moved to Oregon. And the kids changed and I changed and everyone, kind of like, went through experiences and I became aware of how the environment really contributed, like set the stage for all of that to happen.
[00:01:48] Joe Taylor Jr.: Eric’s fascination with how our environment impacts our psychology, led him overseas.
[00:01:54] Eric Inman: I moved to Japan and was there for four years. Came back to graduate school to get a degree in school psychology and took a course on lifespan development. I did get a degree in intercultural and psychological studies, a certificate in eco psychology. I went on an experience with the person who wrote the book from the Eco psychology perspective. I, kind of, went off the traditional path and I was like, I can, I’m gonna start a business. I’ve gotta offer something new that’s not there, and the whole eco psychology model is about, it gets into our deeper human nature, you know, and just what it is to live fully as a mature human, and that there’s wisdom, there’s empathy, there’s caring, there’s love, like all these things we need to accentuate and have them be part of the culture.
[00:02:44] Joe Taylor Jr.: When Eric moved back to the United States, he started bringing some Japanese speaking visitors to a few of his favorite outdoor destinations around Oregon. From there his enterprise grew into Evolve Wild, an experience designed to help folks get in touch with their authentic selves while encountering the natural world.
[00:03:03] Eric Inman: We’ve created layers of insulation where we don’t have to connect with the natural world, you know. Where we can live lives where we don’t really need that time or that space physically to exist. But when people come back to that, there’s a sense of peace, there’s a sense of home in all that. It’s like Pacific Northwest forest, it’s on the side of a volcano – like, a dormant volcano – but just beautiful volcanic mountain. And you can paddleboard around the lakes. You got great food, great camping spaces. They’re all spaced apart, so people can kind of do their own thing or they can be in the group and do a little introductory talk or orientation to it all. And then people choose their spots, and then the request is that people just sit in their spot for however long, for like 15 minutes. Just be there, get present, get grounded. And if they got burning questions, they want to talk, come over to the group space and we’ll be there. We’ll be cooking food. If you’re just happy, just vibing out there, great, go with that. It’s really come as you are. You know, do as you will. If you’ve never spent a night in the woods, we got you.
Psychology is all about relationships. There’s within, right, and yourself. There’s the interpersonal. And then there’s the relationship we have with the world around us. Right? And so this is to heal essentially that, I mean, in a broad picture, it’s to get into a place that you love and loves you back. And then from there, that’s how you change yourself. Just vibe with that. Then the within becomes easier, and finding that place within. And then if we’re coming from there, we can give it to other people. That’s where the magic really happens.
[00:04:41] Joe Taylor Jr.: And if you’re a city dweller who’s not totally sold on the idea of spending your nights in the forest, Eric understands.
[00:04:48] Eric Inman: So you have these natural theories about these things, like bears and, you know, bugs. And it’s legit, you know; but not nearly as much as the things that are actually killing us, like stress, like not exercising. And there’s all these studies about how getting out and connecting with nature helps people, you know just for X amount of time, like it lowers blood pressure. It, you know, reduces your stress. It does all these wonderful things for people. So I think it’s kind of universal. It’s not just me being outdoorsy, it’s me getting outdoors. I feel like in myself, I’m able to recognize something that I can offer people. I feel that bringing this forward into the world is meaningful enough to realize this really helps.
[00:05:32] Joe Taylor Jr.: Eric’s excited to combine his two passions for psychology and for the wilderness to help his guests achieve personal transformations.
[00:05:41] Eric Inman: When people, kind of, not only recognize what’s getting in their way, what’s really kind of going on deep down. But it’s also something that typically they were afraid of facing, but now that they see it in a different way it’s not actually something to be afraid of. It’s just something, you know, to kind of take on in a different way and accept and even love, you know, about themselves or about their life. And so I think that’s when real lessons are made. And then bringing that, not only that awareness, but that presence back into our human-made world because that is where we’re gonna have to make some changes. That’s where we do our work. But if we bring that version of ourselves back into the world, that’s how we can move forward the best way. As far as I can see.
[00:06:26] Joe Taylor Jr.: That’s Eric Inman, founder of Evolve Wild. We’ve got links to Eric’s work in our show notes and on our website at searchandreplace.show.
Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith and Podcast Taxi Executive Producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex ReFire. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr.
[00:07:04] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. Support for search and replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at www.makethewebsiteworkforme.com.